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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Biden's Advice to Trump; Interview With Anthony Scaramucci. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired February 6, 2018 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's had no collusion. Clearly, as 13 months have gone by, can't find any evidence of that.
And so now what's on the table is, let's continue to cooperate, let's continue to be open. So, to me, I still think, even though people like me have recommended not to do it -- again, I'm saying that as a private citizen -- I still think that the lawyers actually have that on the table as something that they're willing to do if they can continue to progress in the way that thing is progressing.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we -- just in point of fact...
SCARAMUCCI: I also think Robert Mueller, I think his legal team, as well as the president -- the president said this on the record -- think that Robert Mueller is going to treat him fairly.
TAPPER: So, just in point of fact, we have no idea what he has in terms of collusion, obstruction of justice. You have shared your opinion.
I don't know what Mueller has.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. Let me rephrase that. I share my opinion.
But, typically, what happens, because I now, unfortunately, have a better understanding of how Washington works and how the system works, if there was something, if there was a smoking gun there somewhere, somebody would have had that Felt moment and handed to it somebody. That's my opinion.
So, I could be wrong. We will have to see what happens.
But I do believe that, when it is over, I believe that you won't find any collusion, because despite I was only in the White House for 11 days, I did work on the campaign for 18 months. And I was also on the executive...
TAPPER: But you didn't know about that meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had with the Russian lawyer. There's stuff you didn't know about that happened.
SCARAMUCCI: No question.
So, I'm just saying my angle, my visibility into the situation makes me believe that.
TAPPER: I want to keep asking about this -- the interview, because I think it's important.
Majorities in polls, majorities of the American people say that they want the president to sit down with Mueller. And here's what President Trump had to say about whether he would do the interview just a couple weeks ago.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you going to talk with Mueller?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking forward to it, actually. Oh, I would do it under oath.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: He said he was looking forward to it.
SCARAMUCCI: I think that is evidence that he, in his heart and soul, and there's some legal standard called mens rea, which you're aware of. There's malicious intent in terms of criminality.
You can see right then and there that he's basically saying that I'm wide open as a book. I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I'm willing to say so under oath.
So, again, I still think that that's on the table. It's just that when you're on a news show and people are asking you your personal opinion, I'm giving my personal opinion, because I obviously generally support the president, want him to do well.
TAPPER: But you're concerned. You're concerned he might say something that gets him...
SCARAMUCCI: It's not a concern that he's done anything malicious or anything nefarious.
But there was a joke somewhere where Mueller is sitting in the Oval Office with him, and the president says good morning. And he says, OK, you have committed perjury because today is really not a good morning.
My point you is, is that you don't want to trip on something that is not necessarily even part of the case, but it looks like you're saying X when Y actually happened.
And, listen, we're all getting a little older. I don't remember every single thing has happened to me in my life. And certainly if I said something that happened that didn't happen, I wouldn't want to be accused of perjury. That's -- any normal lawyer would say that. But in this case -- and,
again, I don't know where the case is going, but if it is going towards obstruction of justice, as opposed to Russian collusion, then I think the legal strategy would be, OK, let's keep the line of communication open with Mueller and his team and leave out there as optionality that the president would actually do that.
TAPPER: So there has been a huge chorus of people on the president's team and the media and politicians saying that he should use the Nunes memo as pretext for firing Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and maybe even firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel.
What do you think?
SCARAMUCCI: I said yesterday that, or two days ago, I wouldn't recommend firing Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.
I do think, at the end of the day, there was some politicization to what happened. We can start finger-pointing about who did what. I think it is very important for us as Americans to look at these agencies and take the agencies at face value, that they're trying to do the right thing.
Are there players inside these agencies that could potentially politicize things? You and I know enough about human nature that that is the case.
And so one of the things I recommended is, you get nonelected officials that are respected by both parties, have them come together and put a commission or a protocol together that protects the agency, also protects the elected officials and adds another layer of confidence to people that these things aren't happening, whether it was the IRS situation, the Nunes memo that we're talking about today or anything.
I think what the American people love about their country is the integrity of the process and the level of fairness, despite the polemics and politics. Let's not let that come into the law and interfere what goes on from a legal perspective.
So, hopefully, that will happen, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Anthony Scaramucci, it's always good to see you. Thanks for dropping by. We appreciate it.
So, what might the fallout be if President Trump decides not to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller? We will get into that next.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: And we're back, and continuing the conversation in our politics lead about a potential interview, potential, between President Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller.
According to "The New York Times," White House lawyers are worried that the president will say something false while under oath which could potentially lead to perjury charges.
Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst Preet Bharara. He's a former U.S. attorney who had appointed by President Obama.
Preet, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.
So, obviously, if the president's lawyers refuse an interview with Robert Mueller, potentially, Mueller could subpoena the president, and then one would think that would go all the way up to the Supreme Court maybe even.
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It depends on what they decide to do.
It's funny. You phrase it as, if the lawyers refuse. The right is for Donald Trump himself to refuse or not refuse. The lawyers could refuse, and Donald Trump, as a high-profile potential target in a case like this, and in other instances where there are high-profile targets, they ignore the advice of their lawyers, and they come in and speak because they have interests beyond just legal jeopardy.
And particularly someone like the president, who has been all over the map on this issue, on the one hand, he says, I'm happy to talk, I'm happy to talk under oath, unlike Hillary Clinton did.
He has on other occasions said, you know who takes Fifth? The mob takes the Fifth. Why do you take the Fifth unless you're guilty?
These are things that he's said himself. So it could be that it's untenable for him as a political matter, as an optics matter not to talk. But it's officially unclear. We don't know how that's going to work.
And you're right. If they -- if the lawyers and the president both agree that they're not going to talk, and there's a subpoena that is served for him to come testify before the grand jury, he has arguments he can make.
I think they're failing arguments, but they're arguments he can make, and decide just to defy the subpoena. And that will get wrangled in the courts I think for a while.
TAPPER: You heard Anthony Scaramucci say he would recommend the president not speak, although he said he thinks it is still on the table for the legal team.
If you were advising President Trump, if you were on his legal team...
BHARARA: That's a bit of a crazy hypothetical, for me to be advising... (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: But wouldn't you make the same recommendation that Scaramucci does? Wouldn't you say, no, I don't think you should do that?
BHARARA: I would insist on being paid, by the way, if I were advising him formally.
TAPPER: OK. Fair enough.
BHARARA: Yes, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I'm not sure.
Look, there is a famous case out of my office years earlier. I didn't preside over it, but Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart is certainly not the president, but she had a significant reputation.
There was a question about whether or not she had engaged in insider trading and securities fraud. And she decided she had other interests and she had image to protect and she didn't want to look like she was hiding something, and she came in and spoke.
And she didn't say what she should have said and she got convicted of a false statement. So that's a precedent that shows -- and there are others like that -- that show that there is considerable risk if you're going to come in.
I would like to think, from the outside, as a citizen, and hearing the president say over and over again he did nothing wrong, there is nothing here no, there is collusion, there is no obstruction, saying the things he said disparagingly about other people's invocation of the Fifth Amendment, he said he would do it. He should do it.
TAPPER: When he was deposed in a lawsuit against author Tim O'Brien, he claimed that Tim O'Brien writing a book about him and his wealth made false statements about him.
The president was deposed and asked about statements that he had made in the past in which the lawyers for Tim O'Brien seemed to suggest or make a case that he had made many false statements in the past. Is he more careful when he is under oath?
BHARARA: The evidence shows when the president of the United States, before he was president, is at a mic or in a meeting, he spouts off. He says a lot of things, whether it is locker room talk or it's tongue in cheek or anything else, and he makes exaggerated claims.
Some would call them outright lies. He does that all the time. In the case you mentioned from 2007, the record shows that when confronted with those exaggerations and those lies in the course of a deposition, when he knew that there was a potential further legal consequence to continuing the lies in the deposition, he pulled back from those things.
So I think the common wisdom that the president is so stupid that he's going to blunder forward if he agrees to an interview and lie, lie, lie in the way he does when he's at a rally is not necessarily correct.
TAPPER: What do you make of the argument put forward by some that lying to the public is impeachable, is an impeachable offense?
BHARARA: I don't believe there's a lot of support for that, but I don't know what it means to have support for what's impeachable or not, because it is a political decision made in Congress.
But no less of a figure than Ken Starr, in support of one of the articles of impeachment back when Bill Clinton was president, was based in part on the idea that Bill Clinton had lied to the public.
And I have seen Ken Starr lately talking about these things, because he has some experience in a slightly different context, saying, among other things, if the president of the United States is seen to have lied -- for example, he said publicly that he didn't intend to fire Bob Mueller, never had a conversation about it.
The reporting says that that's not correct. Someone like Ken Starr says that's something for Congress to consider as being a basis for impeachment.
I'm not sure that I necessarily agree with that, but it is an argument that's out there.
TAPPER: Fascinating stuff.
Preet Bharara, thanks so much. Appreciate your being here.
In a CNN exclusive, Vice President Joe Biden is weighing in on President Trump's actions and whether he would advise him to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller. You're going to want to hear what Biden had to say coming up next.
[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: In a CNN exclusive, former Vice President Joe Biden is talking about Trump and Trump's attack on the FBI, the chances he'll talk with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the President calling Democrats treasonous for not standing during his State of the Union Address. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: This is the first president, I've been here for eight presidents, this is the first president to make a full-throated unvarnished attack on the entirety of the FBI, not going after J. Edgar Hoover who was one person in the FBI. This is to discredit the FBI and discredit his own Justice Department. You know, look, I spent a lot of time traveling around the world. What do you think they're thinking in Moscow? This is doing everything that Putin ever wanted, showing doubt about whether or not our justice system fair, sowing doubt about whether or not there is anything that's remotely consistent with our constitution. It's just -- it's just a disaster.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You think he should sit down with the Special Counsel?
BIDEN: If I were the President's lawyer, I would probably tell him not to sit down with the Special Counsel.
BIDEN: Because --
CUOMO: And they subpoena you and you wind up in front of a grand jury without a lawyer.
BIDEN: Yes. And if you're in a situation where -- the President has some difficulty with precision.
[16:50:06] CUOMO: That's one of the most subtle things I've ever heard you say.
BIDEN: And one of the things that I would worry about if I were his lawyer is him saying is him saying that was simply not true without him even planning to be -- to be disingenuous.
CUOMO: You think he has that little control over whether he test truth or not?
BIDEN: I just -- I just marvel at some of the things he says and does. Like what, two days ago, anybody didn't stand up and clap for him was un-American and maybe even treasonous? I mean, what the hell --
CUOMO: They say it was tongue in cheek. Democrats can't take a joke.
BIDEN: Well, let me tell you. He's a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's the first look at a new interview airing tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN. I want to talk about it with my panel. First of all, let's start, Amanda, with the notion that President Trump's attacks on the FBI are doing everything that Putin ever wanted in Biden's view. Is he right?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly, what Trump is doing and not take a stand against Russians' intervention in the 2016 election is beneficial to Putin. But it is interesting, what Joe Biden is doing here. To me, he is articulating a pretty firm Democratic message against Trump. So is Biden positioning himself for 2020 or is this more comic relief? I don't know what he's up to. I would be interested to hear more.
TAPPER: I think that he's -- that I'm sure that the interview will air later tonight on "ANDERSON 360" but I think it certainly looks like he's thinking about running. But Ana, do you agree with Vice President Biden that the attacks on the FBI and the justice system, the Justice Department by President Trump are sowing doubts in how the justice system works, whether the U.S. system is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, it's doing Putin's bidding for him? ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I absolutely do. And not
only do I, so do other Republicans like John McCain who put out a statement. I think Biden's words echo McCain's statement. It's very -- you know, it's very disturbing in almost like a Republican identity crisis for me because I remember when we used to be vertically against Russian despot and dictators and for law enforcement and would defend law enforcement and U.S. institutions. And it seems like everything has turned upside down, turned on its head under this Trump presidency. I think Joe Biden is obviously leaving himself open to the option of running for President. He's definitely not going out to pasture and he comes across in this you know, Trumpian world as the anti-Trump. There's this humanity to him. There's almost a statesmanlike quality to him that Trump sorely lacks. And to me as a Republican, he stands out above the Democratic fray of the other 10, 15, 20 something that are maybe vying for the -- for the job.
TAPPER: Joe Biden would be, I believe, 78 in 2020. Donald Trump, the President would be 74. Would his age be an issue? He's only four years older than President Trump.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it obviously wasn't an issue for Donald Trump when he ran and he was elected and became the oldest president so you almost feel like they would cancel each other out. I think what we see from Biden is really interesting because he is one of the people who you have seen Democratic candidates like Doug Jones won in that state and won in that race. It will be interesting to see throughout 2018, nobody really wants the Clintons on the stump, whether it's Hillary or Bill Clinton. And if you're -- somebody like Joe Manchin or Joe Donnelly or Jon Tester, you probably don't want Barack Obama out there either. So it will be interesting if some of those red state Democrats feel like Joe Biden can carry the message and be a surrogate for them. It's also interesting to see how different he is from Obama in terms of really going directly after Trump.
TAPPER: Yes, calling him a joke in that --
HENDERSON: Calling him a joke. You haven't seen that from Barack Obama who barely even says Donald Trump's name and kind of goes after him in an oblique indirect way.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, Chris Cuomo is saying, you know, about the treasonous thing, they're saying Democrats can't take a joke. Joe Biden says, well, he is a joke. I mean, that's strong.
CARPENTER: I think Joe Biden definitely has the demeanor to take on a figure like Trump but let's not paint Joe Biden in too good a light. He's ran for president many times. He'll to have answer for the legacy of Barack Obama. Yes, yes, he has fought every time.
TAPPER: Just a reminder.
CARPENTER: He is not in step with the younger hard left, more progressive wing of the Democratic primary that is likely to you know, have a lot of control over the candidate it elects. And so, Joe Biden can try but he will have a fight if that's where he wants to go. TAPPER: Nia-Malika, Ana, Amanda, thanks so much. This programming note, you can see all of Chris Cuomo's exclusive interview with former Vice President Joe Biden tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here CNN. Be sure not to miss it. Let's go back to the "MONEY LEAD." Exactly why are we seeing these wild swings on Wall Street? Why you can't blame it all on investors? Stay with us.
[16:55:00] TAPPER: We're back with the "MONEY LEAD." After the Dow's fourth largest daily gain today and its biggest single drop -- single day drop yesterday, what is really driving this wild ride? Well, experts say you can blame the machines. Yes, computers makeup to 60 percent of trades on a typical day and even more when markets are volatile. Strategists say almost every company uses similar algorithms. So when a trigger point happens, the computer has often react the same causing this wild swings we're seeing. On the other side, machines prevent investors from getting too emotionally tied to a buyer cell which could prolong a downswing. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER, or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. That is it for THE LEAD. I did tell you, root for the Eagles. I'll just remind you of all that. I'll turn it over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.